FTSE flat; UK Q4 GDP final reading marginally better; Wolseley leads on dividend reinstatement

<p>The FTSE 100 traded flat on Tuesday having started the session mildly in positive territory whilst traders showed mild enthusiasm for the final reading of […]</p>

The FTSE 100 traded flat on Tuesday having started the session mildly in positive territory whilst traders showed mild enthusiasm for the final reading of UK GDP which showed that the contraction narrowed from 0.6% to 0.5%.

The FTSE 100 looks to be in consolidation mode, having charged 4% higher last week, with the UK Index lacking much upward drive over the last two trading sessions. This is only natural having rallied so quickly last week and particularly in the context of a heavy calendar of economic data due out this week. Traders could be waiting to see which way the wind blows in terms of economic data before deciding upon their next move.

From an earnings perspective there has been much for investors to get their teeth stuck into today, with firms such as Wolseley, Thomas Cook, Kazakhmys and Man Group all reporting.

It is shares in Wolseley that have led today after the UK house builder reinstated its dividend and reported a 64% rise in profits to £275 million for the first half of the year to the end of January. Shareholders have reacted with positivity to the reinstatement of the dividend, helping to lift the firm’s shares over 2% to the top of the FTSE 100 leader board.

Italian banks have lagged wider European trade however, after UBI Banca surprised investors by announcing a €1 billion capital hike to boost its Tier 1 capital ratio ahead of European stress tests. The move has taken shareholders by some surprise and heightened concerns that this could be the start of further cash calls by other European banks.

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